The story behind this crystal-covered 'Bling Machine' that's turning heads in Virginia

The Fiat 500 is covered in over 437,000 Swarovski crystals.
Posted at 3:18 PM, May 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-31 22:16:35-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A one-of-a-kind Fiat 500 can be seen cruising around Colonial Heights, Virginia.

The 2018 Fiat 500 is covered in over 437,000 Swarovski crystals, courtesy of Kellie "The Crystal Ninja" Defries.

crystal-covered fiat

The National City, California-based Defries is the founder and CEO of the company

The "Ciao Ninja" project, as it has affectionately been named, began in 2020 with a white Fiat.

“We called it Ciao Ninja because the Fiat is Italian and then we’re The ninjas,” Defries said.

Under the sparkle, Defries painted cherry blossoms, meant to represent friendship and community.

crystal-covered fiat

But it was the sparkle that caught the of Laura O'Hara, a Fiat enthusiast.

“It’s sparkly, day and night, during the day it sparkles from the Sunshine.  At night it sparkles from the lights,” O'Hara, of Colonial Heights, said.

Both O'Hara and her husband Robert Helms have enjoyed driving the car around town and seeing the excitement it brings to others.

"You can see people speeding up to see it,” Helms said.

crystal-covered fiat

O'Hara realized the special effect this car had on others when she was driving it back from Pennsylvania after purchasing it.

“It’s like everybody else’s reaction, it’s a lot more sparkly and you want to touch it,” she said.

While she said this won't be her everyday car, Colonial Heights residents can expect to see it often still.

“If this car can’t bring you a smile or joy, you just aren’t happy.”

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